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Newlyweds looking for best CC options; secured loan before mortgage?

lowspender
Contributor

Newlyweds looking for best CC options; secured loan before mortgage?

While congrats are in order, I am NOT the recently wedded (a relief to all who know, myself included)
Encouraged brother to get his first card little over a year ago- wanted him to get disco student card (in grad school), ended up rushed into a bank secure card. I don't like that because his limit can't grow without putting money down, so the card will be useless, but too late for that.

 

Their BIGGEST monthly expense currently, besides rent, is gas. Almost 500/mo. That won't change for the next year, even if fuel goes down, due to dual commutes. Looks like the PNC card and a few other cu's offer up to 4% back on fuel, 3% at least. Most of those cards come with not much of a sub ($100 pnc). Looks like maxxing them out annually is close to what lower percentage rewards cards offer in year 1, with their $2-300 sub's.
Is it generally true that those high single area rewards cards lose to a generous sub, if not maxxed out? I will crunch a few numbers on their case, but wondering if those cards are not as popular bc they're not as good as their one highest category makes them look.

 

Mortgage is at least 12 months away for them, maybe 18. Is the secured loan (I have one, can refer him to nfcu) option worthwhile, for the credit point boost? No installment loan history for him or wife. Realistically, may not reflect in the credit bureau before this next card is applied for (next week or two), so it wouldn't help with a new card score requirement. Will having that score boost and a year of installment loan history be of help down the road? Wouldn't help qualify for their next apartment, outside of score increase, right? Help to have an installment loan active when taking out a mortgage, or will he want to close it out before then? Believe his fico is around 715 now, before the new card drops it down some.

 

Still looking at cards with the best gas and grocery rewards, with a decent SUB, and no AF.. PNC, SAFE, bank of the west, etc.. looks like most of the traditional cards don't have great rewards offers, or have a nice SUB but then fall off in cashback enough to average out, over a few years. Wells Fargo autograph card may be another good new option. Open to suggestion for cards I'm missing ?

Message 1 of 12
11 REPLIES 11
Anonymous
Not applicable

Re: Newlyweds looking for best CC options; secured loan before mortgage?

Autograph doesn't cover groceries: Amex BCE? Or if their grocery expense is high, BCP?

Chase Freedom has 1st yr gas 5% now. And CFF has groceries as rotator.

Affinity Cash rewards? Gas stacked now 7%, 2% + 5% rotator

Message 2 of 12
lowspender
Contributor

Re: Newlyweds looking for best CC options; secured loan before mortgage?


@Anonymous wrote:

Autograph doesn't cover groceries: Amex BCE? Or if their grocery expense is high, BCP?

Chase Freedom has 1st yr gas 5% now. And CFF has groceries as rotator.

Affinity Cash rewards? Gas stacked now 7%, 2% + 5% rotator


True on autograph groceries; has $600 annual phone damage coverage, 3x on phone bill (same amount as groceries, probably). BCE does look good for 3/3/3 across groceries, gas, online- doesn't that require a higher score? I was turned down from that a few years ago with scores all in the 800 range. Don't want them to be limited to just 1 year with higher gas rewards, or stuck with Chase, who isn't as friendly with cli's.

Affinity rewards card looks very nice- if there was a way to have that category active for 3 quarters annually, that would be the winner.

 

Is BCE more friendly to beginners than I remember, and are there other lesser known cards like the PNC 4% gas card that I haven't found yet?

 

Is PNC unwilling to be the first non secured credit card someone has?

Message 3 of 12
Anonymous
Not applicable

Re: Newlyweds looking for best CC options; secured loan before mortgage?

How come you were denied BCE with 800 score I thought that was one of the easiest. Some say start with the easiest Delta, then SP to get core cards. You can try prequal on the website

Message 4 of 12
coldfusion
Community Leader
Mega Contributor

Re: Newlyweds looking for best CC options; secured loan before mortgage?

Threads related to gas rewards are a recurring theme in the CC section of the forum.  Here's one from just a couple of months ago so the information shouldn't be stale.  https://ficoforums.myfico.com/t5/Credit-Cards/Help-With-GAS-CARD/m-p/6547409

(2/2023)
FICO 8 (EX) 833 (TU) 839 (EQ) 840
FICO 9 (EX) 843 (TU) 850 (EQ) 850

$1M+ club

Artist formerly known as the_old_curmudgeon who was formerly known as coldfusion
Message 5 of 12
lowspender
Contributor

Re: Newlyweds looking for best CC options; secured loan before mortgage?


@Anonymous wrote:

How come you were denied BCE with 800 score I thought that was one of the easiest. Some say start with the easiest Delta, then SP to get core cards. You can try prequal on the website


I thought that too. Amex can be good with thin files, my file seemed to be too thin at the time (only 1 card). I prequal'd approval for BCE, but was then denied. Then learned on here that it's not a strict science. Anyways, not about me. They have a file as thin as mine was at time of denial and with significantly less history, so I didn't put Amex on the table as an option.

Message 6 of 12
lowspender
Contributor

Re: Newlyweds looking for best CC options; secured loan before mortgage?


@coldfusion wrote:

Threads related to gas rewards are a recurring theme in the CC section of the forum.  Here's one from just a couple of months ago so the information shouldn't be stale.  https://ficoforums.myfico.com/t5/Credit-Cards/Help-With-GAS-CARD/m-p/6547409


Yes, thank you! That is the thread I found and have been going through, compiling a list. I searched the thread for posts by that user for more info on their credit file, didn't see any. I'm sure that being young and having a thin file limits approval options for them, I'm not sure which of those cards could be obviously bad "first unsecured card" choices to apply for. Searching each card on the forum comes with so many variables ouside of the relevant dp's, thought the specific situation would help compile good current options for thin files, with reasonable approval and good rewards. That may be a judgment call.. I suppose I'm looking to avoid landmines, without reading fine print on each card.

 

Speaking of which, you are exactly who I thought of, related to the secured loan question. Is it worth establishing, if a mortgage is planned within 12-18 months? Thinking a year of installment loan history and the point boost when they are hp'd for a mortgage, as beneficial. Not counting on a point boost in time for this new cc app. It's a secured loan, so it wouldn't affect approval status for a real loan, would it?

Message 7 of 12
coldfusion
Community Leader
Mega Contributor

Re: Newlyweds looking for best CC options; secured loan before mortgage?


@lowspender wrote:

@coldfusion wrote:

Threads related to gas rewards are a recurring theme in the CC section of the forum.  Here's one from just a couple of months ago so the information shouldn't be stale.  https://ficoforums.myfico.com/t5/Credit-Cards/Help-With-GAS-CARD/m-p/6547409


Yes, thank you! That is the thread I found and have been going through, compiling a list. I searched the thread for posts by that user for more info on their credit file, didn't see any. I'm sure that being young and having a thin file limits approval options for them, I'm not sure which of those cards could be obviously bad "first unsecured card" choices to apply for. Searching each card on the forum comes with so many variables ouside of the relevant dp's, thought the specific situation would help compile good current options for thin files, with reasonable approval and good rewards. That may be a judgment call.. I suppose I'm looking to avoid landmines, without reading fine print on each card.

 

Speaking of which, you are exactly who I thought of, related to the secured loan question. Is it worth establishing, if a mortgage is planned within 12-18 months? Thinking a year of installment loan history and the point boost when they are hp'd for a mortgage, as beneficial. Not counting on a point boost in time for this new cc app. It's a secured loan, so it wouldn't affect approval status for a real loan, would it?


If by a real loan you're talking about a mortgage in 12-18 months no it wouldn't hurt odds of approval.  If you are talking about applying for an unsecured card within the next several weeks that is a YMMV but likely yes in the short term.

 

I can't think of a realistic senario when having a consistently positive tradeline with balances reporting but not being carried for 12-18 months would in the big picture be seen in a negative light.

(2/2023)
FICO 8 (EX) 833 (TU) 839 (EQ) 840
FICO 9 (EX) 843 (TU) 850 (EQ) 850

$1M+ club

Artist formerly known as the_old_curmudgeon who was formerly known as coldfusion
Message 8 of 12
lowspender
Contributor

Re: Newlyweds looking for best CC options; secured loan before mortgage?


@coldfusion wrote:
If by a real loan you're talking about a mortgage in 12-18 months no it wouldn't hurt odds of approval.  If you are talking about applying for an unsecured card within the next several weeks that is a YMMV but likely yes in the short term.

 

I can't think of a realistic senario when having a consistently positive tradeline with balances reporting but not being carried for 12-18 months would in the big picture be seen in a negative light.


Been away from civilization all week, appreciate the input here. So is the decrease in aaoa from an ssl not worth being concerned about? Given a 3+ year timeline, I'd be dismissing the importance, but this is so much shorter- it would nearly cut their number in half. I guess it would basically be restored in a year.
Applying for an unsecured card soon, yes.. that would definitely hurt aaoa and points in a few ways short term, like you mention- that seemed like an important next step to build a thicker file. Then they're applying for a mortgage in 1-2 year's time with more than a <$500 secured card- which is what I think you're saying, about little to no downside of a credit account with balances not being carried- a bigger next card seems like a good thing for the big picture, no?

Message 9 of 12
805orbust
Valued Contributor

Re: Newlyweds looking for best CC options; secured loan before mortgage?

Performing on those various credit products will benefit them far greater than any alteration in their aaoa. Especially since its going to be low either way. 3 cards (so AZEO can be maximized at the time of mortgage app), and the installment loan will put them in a very nice position. Especially since I'm sensing that they're going into the mortgage app with a nice down-payment. 



Message 10 of 12
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